View Full Version : Mulally!

18th February 2012, 10:03 PM
So, if you want an idea as to how Ford clawed it's way out of oblivion, Alan Mulally is the guy that mostly did it.
Some of what will be posted here is a little old, but fits the purpose of showing us a bit about him.

We'll start with this...


18th February 2012, 10:06 PM
Fixing up Ford

If business were politics, Detroit would be the Middle East. So how is an outsider like Alan Mulally finding solutions? And why does he seem to be enjoying himself?

By Alex Taylor III, senior editor
Last Updated: May 12, 2009: 12:40 PM ET

(Fortune Magazine) -- Alan Mulally is in my face - again. In fact, he has barely left it for the past two hours. He has taken me through the thick loose-leaf binder he assembled for my interview and shown me another five binders filled with interviews he did upon taking the CEO job at Ford, along with research material and personal notes.

He has given me his opinion on all the stories I've written about Ford (F, Fortune 500) since he took over and, for good measure, the stories I wrote about Boeing back when he worked there. The man is relentless and demands all my attention. He won't let up until he has turned all my "nos" and "maybes" into "yeses."

Call it the Mulally method: this good-natured but relentless insistence on following what he has determined to be the correct course of action. My immersion is taking place around a conference table in his office on the 12th floor of Ford Motor Co.'s world headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.
0:00 /2:44Ford chief: Plan's working

Mulally is sitting so close, he could be in my lap. The office decoration is sparse, but Mulally likes the 180-degree view; Ford's historic River Rouge complex is visible on the horizon, and he says he can keep an eye on General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) and Chrysler from here too. Not that Mulally has much time for window gazing. He's on a crusade to save Ford Motor.

Now he's showing me the corporate mission statement he wrote and had printed on plastic cards and distributed to employees. And here is the hand-drawn diagram he's created just for me (with my name in a cloudburst!) to explain what it all means. In case I hadn't noticed, Mulally says, "I went to a lot of work for this." Trust me, Alan, I noticed.

All this attention is wearing me out - but not Mulally. In the midst of history's second-worst auto depression, Mulally seems to be ... enjoying himself? This is a man who lives less than three miles from his office, arrives there each morning at 5:15 a.m. for a 12-hour workday, and does so with smile. At 63, he still gets enthusiastic about tackling big jobs. "I've always wanted to do something important, and it had to be in a big organization," says Mulally.

You would think once in a lifetime would be enough for the aeronautical engineer in charge of developing the 777 airliner at Boeing (BA, Fortune 500). But here he is, doing it all over again: "What gets me really excited is a big thing where a lot of talented, smart people are involved," he says. Mulally once asked his mother, now 90, "Why am I this way?" She replied, "You've always been this way."
0:00 /2:56Ford adding production

Mulally's being "this way" has, at least for now, kept Ford ahead of GM and Chrysler in the fight for survival. Unlike its traditional rivals, Mulally's Ford insists it has enough cash to ride out the economic downturn and does not want the government loans that the other two companies have accepted.

Ford's financial independence is largely due to a new operational discipline that Mulally has installed, as well as some timely strategic moves he initiated. So while GM suffered the ignominy of seeing the Treasury Department's auto task force depose chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, and Chrysler has declared bankruptcy, Ford stands alone as an independent company and, potentially, a Detroit survivor. "Alan was the right choice [to be CEO], and it gets more right every day," says executive chairman Bill Ford, the man who hired him.

Ford Motor is still losing money, like nearly every other automaker, but it shows signs of recovery. In the U.S. its market share of retail sales to individuals (as opposed to wholesale sales to fleet customers) has gone up in six of the past seven months. It has negotiated four new agreements with the United Auto Workers, bringing its hourly labor cost down from $76 an hour to $55 an hour and, Ford says, promising to make it competitive with Toyota (TM). While GM and Chrysler are hoarding cash, Ford actually laid out $2.4 billion in March to pay down $10.1 billion in long-term debt. Its share price has increased nearly fivefold since hitting a low in November.
'Pretty relentless'

Mulally, who was hired as CEO in September 2006, hasn't engineered, designed, or built any cars. But he has devised a plan that identifies specific goals for the company, created a process that moves it toward those goals, and installed a system to make sure it gets there. Mulally watches all this with intensity - and demands weekly, sometimes daily, updates. "Alan's style is pretty relentless," says chief financial officer Lewis Booth, a 31-year Ford veteran. "He says, 'If this is the reality, what are we going to do about it?' not 'We're going to work our way through it.'"

The Mulally method has pointed Ford to some smart strategic moves. Sensing a recession in 2006, Mulally decided to borrow $23.6 billion against Ford's assets. Piling on more debt wasn't an easy call, but the extra cash meant that Ford could say no to government loans when sales fell apart last year. Mulally is moving to integrate the company globally, despite several failed attempts in the past. In 2010, Ford will be selling small cars in the U.S. that were developed in Europe. Mulally persuaded Bill Ford to dispose of Jaguar and Land Rover and focus its resources on the Ford brand, and by moving quickly he managed to sell them to India's Tata in 2007 when there was still a market for makers of luxury vehicles. He took longer to untangle Volvo from the rest of the company, but he has now put that up for sale too.

Those moves have helped Ford separate from GM and Chrysler, and Mulally is pumped. "As we come through this, we're going to be a turbo machine on the other side," he says. He has promised that Ford's core North American operations, as well as the entire company, will turn profitable by 2011. It had better, because it can't keep losing money indefinitely. Ford recorded a loss of $14.7 billion last year and another $1.4 billion in 2009's first quarter. If the U.S. and the rest of the global economy continue to slump, Ford's survival could be endangered. "The test of Ford's liquidity will be how low vehicle sales go this year, when they recover, and what levels they recover to in 2010 and 2011," writes analyst Shelly Lombard of Gimme Credit.

Besides, Ford hasn't always handled prosperity well. It boomed in the mid-1980s on the strength of the Taurus, pickup trucks, and Lincolns, only to be laid low by the recession of 1990-91. Then it squeezed record profits out of Expeditions, Lincoln Navigators, and pickups - all built on the same platform - in the middle to late 1990s. But a binge of overseas acquisitions, combined with laxity in operations, brought it limping into the 21st century. When Mulally arrived in September 2006, Ford was known mainly for its pickup trucks and the Mustang, and the company was on the verge of collapse. It lost $12.6 billion in 2006 and another $2.7 billion in 2007.

Now, if the economy recovers on schedule, Ford is in a position to thrive. To meet stricter government fuel-economy standards, it is introducing a line of more efficient, smaller-displacement engines with turbocharging, and it will start rolling out electric vehicles in 2010. A healthier Ford will be able to scoop up business from GM and Chrysler as those companies shed brands and models. Goldman Sachs's Patrick Archambault sees Ford picking up 25% of the sales the two companies lose, equivalent to 1.35 points of market share.

So how does an industry outsider like Mulally come into a company as large as Ford - with its 205,000 employees, multiple product lines, and international operations - and straighten it out?

To people like me who follow the industry and find its inner workings infinitely complex, the success of a non-auto person is surprising and, frankly, a little discomfiting. Mulally, after all, was so removed from Detroit ways when Ford hired him that his personal car was a Lexus.

Although there are similarities between building airplanes and making cars - heavy R&D, complex manufacturing, supplier relations, a unionized workforce - there are crucial differences too. Mulally had no experience in mass marketing or dealer relations. Although he has weighed in on model names, brand streamlining (he is allowing Mercury to wither away), and product complexity (he was flabbergasted to hear that engineers had created 132 different center consoles for the Navigator), he leaves product decisions to the professionals.

The story of how Mulally revived Ford's best-known sedan is a quintessential demonstration of the Mulally method - analyzing a situation using accepted facts and then winning over support through persistence. Here's the story, told by Mulally:

Rest of article is in Link (http://money.cnn.com/2009/05/11/news/companies/mulally_ford.fortune/index.htm)

18th February 2012, 10:07 PM

Ford on the road to profit in '11, CEO Mulally says
Saturday May 16, 2009 02:14:58 EDT
May 16, 2009 (The Dallas Morning News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX News Network) --

At a time when bankrupt Chrysler LLC and struggling General Motors Corp. are closing dealerships and plants, Ford Motor Co. plans to be profitable again in 2011.

"Ford is in a very different place right now," said CEO Alan Mulally, who was in the area on Friday to attend the grand opening of Randall Reed's Prestige Ford and Lincoln Mercury in Garland.

Ford, of course, has felt the pain of the recession just as other automakers have. The company lost a record $14.7 billion last year and another $1.4 billion in the first quarter of this year.

But Mulally, who came to Ford in 2006 from Boeing, where he oversaw the development of the 777 airliner and other projects, made a controversial decision shortly after he arrived to mortgage most of Ford's assets so the company could borrow $23.6 billion.

The funds allowed Ford to operate through the recession without government assistance, and, more important, Mulally said, to continue developing vehicles. Some, such as the new Ford Taurus sedan and Lincoln MKT crossover, begin arriving at dealerships this year.

"We affectionately called that money our home-improvement loan," said Mulally, who didn't much resemble an automaker CEO in his red sweater vest, crisp white long-sleeve shirt and tan slacks.

Ford is already working to retire its considerable debt, he said.

"As we start to generate cash, we will be able to pay off those loans quickly," said Mulally, a youthful 63-year-old Kansas native who's featured in a cover story in this month's Fortune magazine. "We are absolutely not postponing the pain."

Ford has managed to separate itself from GM and Chrysler in perception, industry observers say, and that should serve the company well once the car market regains its health.

"I think Alan has been there long enough that you are seeing the results," said Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive officer of Edmunds.com. "Most of these car companies have good designers. You just have to have someone who will cut them loose."

"The direction they are moving is lifting the entire Ford group up," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. "They have put good design back into their vehicles."

Mulally, who at one point in the interview leaped up to go hug a 94-year-old woman who had just bought a Focus, said he decided to attend the Prestige grand opening because the dealership chose to invest millions in its facilities in a terrible economy to prepare for better times. That is essentially what Ford is doing, said Mulally, who drives a different car home every night, including a Honda Fit recently.(A very wise 6th century B.C. Chinese General named Sun Tzu, once stated in a treatise titled The Art Of War, that if "you know your enemy & know yourself, in 100 battles you will never be in peril")

"If all you do is worry about slashing and cutting, this job is not much fun," he said.

18th February 2012, 10:08 PM
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Mulally plans to stay in driver's seat at Ford
Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally says he has no intention of retiring before restoring the Dearborn automaker to sustained profitability.

Mulally turns 64 next month, and Ford executives have typically retired by age 65. If he followed that policy, the chief architect of Ford's turnaround plan would leave before reaching his long-stated goal of returning Ford to full-year profitability. But Mulally told The Detroit News he intends to stay.

"As long as I'm contributing, I'm honored to serve Ford," he said last week. "But I'm one person on a fabulous team."


That may be, but many on Wall Street see Mulally as the star. And as Ford's fortunes rise, some analysts and investors are becoming increasingly concerned about Ford's future without him. As one fund manager who controls a sizable chunk of Ford's stock and bonds put it: "I'm not worried about suppliers or sales. The biggest threat to Ford's future is that Mulally steps off the curb tomorrow and gets hit by a bus."

Such sentiments, blunt as they may be, are a testament to the progress Ford has made since Mulally took over as CEO in September of 2006. He predicts the company should settle into profitability by late 2011.

The only American automaker to eschew a federal bailout, Ford has avoided bankruptcy and last week surprised Wall Street with a $2.3 billion second-quarter profit. Though that profit was due to onetime gains, Ford's shares have soared, hitting a new 52-week high of $7.32 Wednesday before falling back to close at $7.12.

Mulally is no stranger to success. Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. recruited him from the Boeing Co., where he was credited with saving the commercial aviation division after the 2001 terrorist attacks prompted the world's airlines to cancel nearly all orders.

He did it by slashing jobs, negotiating a more competitive contract with Boeing's unions and simplifying the company's product lineup.

"Mulally brought his playbook from Boeing to Ford. He gained union concessions, refined the number of platforms and standardized parts," said analyst Eric Selle of JPMorgan. "His value has been evident since he got there. He's been an agent of change."

Analysts like Selle are not Mulally's only fans. For many Ford employees, he has rock-star status -- significant for a company historically troubled by cults of personality.
Big changes since 2006

When Mulally took over from Bill Ford, the "Way Forward" restructuring plan implemented by Ford Americas President Mark Fields had been outpaced by the rapid unraveling of the truck and sport utility vehicle market in the United States.

Mulally responded with deeper cuts and won painful concessions from the United Auto Workers that finally put Ford's labor costs in line with Asian manufacturers in the southern U.S. He has radically simplified Ford's brand portfolio and product lineup, going from 97 nameplates in 2006 to 59 by the end of last year.

And he has pushed engineers to use common platforms and components wherever possible worldwide and merged Ford's often disparate regional divisions into a single global entity that he refers to as "One Ford."

Most importantly, Mulally secured a $23 billion financing deal that has provided Ford with the cash to weather the current economic crisis and avoid the fate of General Motors Co. and the Chrysler Group LLC, both of which were forced to file for bankruptcy.

Some of the credit for these accomplishments belongs to other Ford executives.

Former Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair and then-CEO Bill Ford began assembling the financing plan before Mulally was hired, and much of the cost reductions that have trimmed billions from Ford's North American operations were the results of Fields' "Way Forward" plan or part of an accelerated effort that he and Leclair had already drafted.

But Mulally has done something that no other Ford executive in history has been able to: taken a sledgehammer to Ford's infamously careerist corporate culture, which too often put individual advancement ahead of the company's long-term success.

"The only scary thing is what happens when Mulally leaves," said Sean McAlinden, chief economist for the Center for Automotive Research.

"The family feuds could start again."
Making change permanent

Mulally says he is making sure they will not.

"Ford is in a different place. It's running itself like a business," he said.

"One of my highest priorities is to develop a process inside Ford that is very reliable."

By way of example, he points to his now-famous Thursday morning meetings. Officially known as "Business Plan Reviews," these star-chamber sessions are designed to identify any threats to Ford's plan and take immediate corrective action. They also ensure that all key executives are literally on the same page, using the same data and adhering to the same metrics.

Mulally said these and other practices are becoming a permanent part of Ford's corporate culture.

He also pointed to recent moves like the promotion of Ford of Europe chief Lewis Booth to CFO and global sales and marketing head Jim Farley's new responsibility for the company's Canadian and Mexican operations as proof that Ford is actively cultivating in-house talent.

"I think Ford is going to be just fine," Mulally said. "But I am walking on the sidewalk. I like it here."


18th February 2012, 10:08 PM

Mulally interview.
Part 1: http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?play=1&video=1355645178
Part 2: http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?play=1&video=1355657649

18th February 2012, 10:13 PM

Ford CEO Mulally says talked to GM's Whitacre Wed
Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:19pm EST

DETROIT, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co (F.N) Chief Executive Alan Mulally said in a CNBC interview on Thursday that he had talked this week with General Motors Co [GM.UL] Chairman and Chief Executive Ed Whitacre.

Mulally, who Ford hired away from Boeing Co (BA.N) three years ago, did not discuss details of his conversation with Whitacre. Whitacre became chairman of GM in July and was named CEO on Dec. 1 with the resignation of CEO Fritz Henderson.

"Well, matter of fact, we did talk yesterday," Mulally said in an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC. "He's reaching out just the way that I did when I came in."

Whitacre, the former head of AT&T and an auto industry outsider, announced a management shake-up three days after he was named acting CEO. More executive changes have followed.

"You want to be supportive because we have a lot of industry issues that we work together," Mulally said of his conversation with Whitacre.

Mulally said he had talked with other industry executives, including former GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, when he joined Ford as an industry outsider in 2006.

Wagoner was ousted as head of GM in March by the Obama administration during the automaker's struggle to reorganize its operations. GM emerged from a government-funded bankruptcy in July nearly 61 percent owned by the U.S. Treasury.

In October, former auto task force head Steve Rattner said in a Fortune Magazine article that Wagoner had cautioned the administration against bringing in an outsider when it sought his resignation from GM, citing daily conversations Wagoner had with Mulally after the former Boeing executive joined Ford.

"I don't remember it that way," Mulally said. "I will say that when I arrived I reached out to all of the industry insiders, including Rick, and Rick was very very supportive."

Ford, the only large U.S. automaker not to reorganize under a U.S. government-supported bankruptcy in 2009, posted a third-quarter profit that surprised Wall Street analysts and now expects to be full-year profitable in 2011.

Analysts have credited Mulally broadly for Ford executing on a turnaround despite a downturn that has pushed U.S. auto industry sales to the worst levels since the early 1980s. (Reporting by David Bailey; editing by Carol Bishopric)

18th February 2012, 10:15 PM
Mulally's in overdrive
Ford CEO pulls U-turn with auto icon (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/mulally_in_overdrive_k9P4ppZfSDY6Y8nBXEfdoO)

Ford Motor Co. has been on a roll since CEO Alan R. Mulally, an impish marketer with a salary bigger than the combined paychecks of the CEOs of Toyota, Nissan and Honda, took over in 2006.

While the second quarter earnings report due Tuesday will be a mixed bag -- foreign sales down, quality and domestic sales up -- Mulally is well on his way to finishing what he started. He's turning around a floundering automotive icon in the midst of the recession, with the stock up 92 percent over the last year.

He is retooling the product line to rescue it from terminal boredom and pushing sales past those of its Asian competitors. If he finishes what he started, he'll be worth the big bucks he's paid.

Manhattan auto dealers are among the beneficiaries of Mulally's successes so far: Ford sales in the five boroughs are up 62 percent year over year through the first five months. Lincoln-Mercury sales are up 40 percent during the same period.

Sales for the entire New York region are up 37 percent year over year through May, with sales of the Taurus, Ford's flagship sedan, up 211 percent year to date.

Other models are also doing well year-over-year in New York: Fusion up 17 percent; EDGE up 61 percent; Escape up 51 percent and Focus up 53 percent.

Gary Flom, president of Manhattan Automotive Co., the city's the largest Ford dealer, says sales of hybrids are through the roof -- Manhattan sells more hybrids than any Ford dealer on the East Coast, according to Ford's statistics.

"The product is terrific. It's perfect for Manhattan. It gets 41 mpg even in heavily congested areas," Flom says.

Flom credits Mulally for getting it right. "He truly cares. He cares about customers, drivers and the environment. He gets a standing ovation because he's really a terrific person who is well respected and loved by the dealers."

In what should be an inspiration for those of us who strive but can't quite reach the brass ring, the 64-year-old Mulally was passed over twice for the top job at Boeing Co. He held the No. 2 position when Bill Ford, Jr., hired him to run Ford Motor -- even though Mulally had been at Boeing 37 years and had absolutely no automotive experience.

Today, Mulally's penthouse glass office in Dearborn, Mich., with its stunning view of the historic Ford Rouge Plant 15 miles away, is littered with automotive memorabilia.

Its floor-to-ceiling bookcases are stuffed with hundreds of books about Henry Ford. Mulally says he was a student of Ford and the Ford Motor Co. long before he was offered the job to run it. "One of the reasons I took this job is because I wanted the opportunity to work for a company that is an American icon," he says.

James Harbour, an automotive manufacturing analyst and expert in lean manufacturing, credits Mulally for simplifying the company's engineering processes. He says that has been key not only to cost savings but also to improved quality.

Mulally acknowledges that's true.

He estimates that over the last four years, the company has simplified its manufacturing by 80 percent. "We removed all the variations in things that customers don't care about. That allowed us to focus on what people do care about and make it better," Mulally says.

"If you're going to be world class, you have to focus," he adds.

Streamlining also helped cut costs. Ford was able to reduce its expenses $5 billion last year and increase revenue per vehicle to an average of $2,700.

Before Mulally took the job at Ford, he reportedly used to drive a Lexus. Today, he claims to be Ford neutral, driving a different model -- or occasionally a competitor's car -- every day. As a member of the company's design team, he says it is important for him to experience the competition.

Next on Mulally's docket:

* Pay down debt in order to concentrate on building a global company with a limited number of models that will sell worldwide.

* Releasing an all-electric vehicle before General Motors debuts the Volt.

Under Mulally, Ford has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability. "Whatever we do toward energy independence has to be done in the context of using less resources," he says. "Eighty percent of our vehicles are already recyclable, but we have to do better."

18th February 2012, 10:17 PM
Detroit Free Press


Mulally's plan for success at Ford: Keep it simple

More than four years into its turnaround plan, Ford has not only exceeded many of its own goals, it is now breaking through as a global industry leader — especially on image and quality.

Credit has largely gone to President and CEO Alan Mulally, who believes that a big, global corporation must be guided by a clear plan with just a few basic goals.

“The more than you can have a point of view about the future and clarify what you are about … the more it just unleashes all the creativity,” Mulally told the Free Press in an exclusive interview Wednesday.

Mulally has driven Ford to simplify almost everything since arriving in 2006: communications, management, brands and even the cars and trucks sold in showrooms. By the end of this year, Ford — the nation’s second largest automaker by sales — will consist of a very simple business: Ford and Lincoln.

That has sharpened the focus for a company once consumed with eight brands, Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Volvo and Mazda.

Said Mark Fields, Ford president of the Americas: “When we walk in the door in the morning, we are thinking now about Ford and Lincoln.”

Plans for Lincoln are growing, too. “It could go worldwide,” Mulally said.

Ford still has challenges. It must catch up to rivals in Asia and pay down nearly $27 billion in debt.


But for now, Ford is on track to be solidly profitable in 2010 — a year ahead of plan, despite a tough economy.

On Friday, analysts estimate Ford will report a second-quarter profit of $1.37 billion, before special charges, which would bring Ford’s first-half profits to $3.45 billion.

Rod Lache, an automotive analyst for Deutsche Bank, said Ford’s turnaround is “the most dramatic” he’s seen. “Ford is not only profitable — I think it is actually the most-profitable mass-market automaker in the world.”

Easier choices for consumers
Just two years ago, consumers could buy a Ford Explorer in 76,000 different configurations.

Now, after a multi-year effort to simplify how Ford packages its vehicles, with different models and options, Ford has cut that number to just 1,500.

“If you roll the clock back two to three years ago….one of the things we realized is we just had too much complexity,” said Ford Division Marketing Manager John Felice.

Added Bruce Schindler, owner of Bob Davidson Ford in Baltimore: “The consumer isn’t as mixed up either.”

The push to reduce Ford’s number of orderable combinations is just one of the many ways that Mulally has reduced, streamlined and simplified the company — but a key reason, he thinks, behind Ford’s profits and market share increases.

Focus on Ford
When Mulally, 64, arrived at Ford in 2006, the auto industry outsider from Boeing found a company that he thought was far too complicated.

“We were running Aston Martin, Jaguar, Volvo, and Mazda,” Mulally said. “Now…the dealers are simplified, the suppliers are simplified and the product line is simplified.”

Mulally believes that global corporations can only make a limited number of world-class products.

That’s why one of his first decisions was to focus on the Ford brand — the only global brand that some experts said could give the once-mighty Toyota brand a run for its money.

“We divested all of the other brands,” he said, and that “unleashed everybody associated with Ford.”

Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas, said the executive team embraced Mulally’s vision, in part, because it made their work more simple. In an interview with the Fee Press this week, Fields pulled out a chart showing how Ford’s U.S. market share slid from more than 25% in 1995 to 15.8% in 2007.

“That’s like a double-diamond ski slope,” Fields said. “And you know what? We’ve turned it.”

For the first six months of this year Ford’s market share increased 1.4 points to 17.5% of U.S. industry sales.

Formed at Boeing
Mulally is famously relentless about driving his “One Ford” vision home to his top leadership team, employees, dealers and even the media.

At Ford’s Dearborn headquarters, employees have been carrying laminated, business card sized copies of the ‘One Ford’ plan since 2006.

Mulally’s ‘One Ford’ evangelism can be considered corny. But Elaine Bannon, chief engineer of the Ford Edge crossover, said the crystal clear priorities, such as improving fuel economy, make her job easier.

“It’s almost a joy. You almost take it for granted now how nice and comfortable that is when you are pushing the envelope every day,” Bannon said.

“It totally shapes how I am working and how I think about what I am doing when I am working with other people,” Bannon said.

One page plan
In 2007, Ford was making cars and trucks from 27 different platforms, a car industry term for a vehicle’s underbody. By 2012, that number will drop to 15, according to the company’s 2009 annual report.

Ford also has reduced the total number of models it sells from 97 in 2006 to an estimated 45 by the end of this year.

“You almost needed a conference room and big sheets of paper to view that product plan,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of global product development. “Now, we’re to the point where it’s a single page.”

Ahead of schedule
Ford’s progress in getting its business right was painfully slow for years.

Ford lost more than $30 billion from 2006 to 2008 as it slashed its North American workforce by 43% to 70,000 and closed 14 assembly and parts plants.

But last year, Ford reported a surprise $2.7 billion profit even as U.S. industry sales hit their lowest level since 1982. This year, Ford sait it expects to be “solidly profitable” a year ahead of its own schedule.

“We have taken $10 billion of structural costs out of the business to get it back into fighting shape,” since 2005 Fields said.

As a result, analysts, on average, expect Ford to earn about $4.34 billion this year, according to Thomson One Analytics.

If that happens, it will be Ford’s largest annual profit since 1999, when gas was cheap and domestic automakers were selling profitable SUVs like hotcakes.

Third party proof
And these days, Ford seems to be topping the charts in almost every third party survey that gets released.

On Thursday, the 2010 Ford Fusion, Taurus, Flex, Expedition and Explorer Sport Trac received the highest scores in their respective segments in a study released by J.D. Power and Associates.

The Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study measures consumers’ assessments on about 80 criteria after driving their 2010 model vehicles for three months.

Also last week, a survey by AutoPacific found that Ford emerged as the top-rated popular brand and led the industry with a total of eleven segment winners.

“Ford has been the top rated popular brand for the past three years,” said AutoPacific President George Petersoncq. “They are paying a tremendous amount of attention to detail.”

Said Fields: “We’ve made major strides over the past three to four years in term of how people view our brands.”

Looming debt
Ford’s nearly $27 billion in debt remains a challenge, however. In 2006, Ford bet its future on a $23 billion in loans, using all its assets as collateral, right down to the Blue Oval logo.

That decision gave Ford the capital to survive the economic downturn as the only domestic automaker that didn’t take emergency federal loans. It also left Ford with more debt, excluding pension obligations, than General Motors or Chrysler.

Since April, Ford has paid off about $7 billion of its debt.

Mulally declined to talk about the company’s debt last week, but he has said frequently in the past that the company will continue to aggressively pay down its debt until it is back to investment grade.

J.P. Morgan analyst Eric Selle said in a June report Ford can pay off more of its debt soon because it is business generating profits.

“We feel that Ford has the ability to reach investment grade status within the next two years,” said J.P. Morgan analyst

Pressure on Lincoln, China

Ford has other challenges too. The decision to sell all of its luxury brands puts the spotlight on Lincoln, whose year-to-date sales are behind seven other luxury brands

“We bought all those other premium brands, right? So we invested less in Lincoln,” Mulally said. “But now with those other brands gone… I think it could go worldwide.”

Ford also lags its competitors in China, now the world’s largest automotive market, where its market share is only about 2%.

Mulally, always the optimist, points out that Ford is building anew plants in Chongqing China and has aggressive growth plans.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity,” he said. “We are profitably growing in China as quickly and prudently as possible.”

link (http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100718/BUSINESS0102/100718004/1204/Business0102/Mulallys-plan-for-success-at-Ford-Keep-it-simple&template=fullarticle)

18th February 2012, 10:18 PM
CNBC Interview (http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1553127000&play=1)

18th February 2012, 10:19 PM

Ford's Mulally beats the tech gurus in online voting for Businessperson of the Year

by Noah Joseph (RSS feed) on Nov 10th 2010 at 8:58AM

If you saw the recent boring-story-brilliantly-told called The Social Network, you might have come away with the notion that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg deserves the Businessperson of the Year title. The movie's been a box-office smash, but evidently the voting public felt otherwise, electing Ford CEO Alan Mulally as their popular choice.

The online Reader's Choice contest is one of several criteria which Fortune magazine uses to select their honoree, and works in a playoff-like bracketed run-off. Mulally was pitted against Zuckerberg in the first round, but the social networking chief isn't the only tech guru vanquished by the auto exec along his rise to the top of the standings: Mulally also knocked off Apple's Steve Jobs, while his Indian counterpart Ratan Tata – who incidentally took Jaguar and Land Rover off Mulally's hands in his restructuring plan – beat out Twitter's Ev Williams. The noteworthy leaders of Amazon, WalMart, Berskshire Hathaway and DuPont were also eliminated along the way.

While the popular perception that Mulally succeeded where his Detroit compatriots failed surely weighed heavily, the victory was compounded by a campaign on Ford's part to drive voters to the Fortune contest: The business journal reports that over half the voters came directly from Ford.com.

[Source: Fortune]

18th February 2012, 10:20 PM

Mulally tops Motor Trend Power List for 2011

by Jeff Glucker (RSS feed) on Dec 27th 2010 at 12:59PM

Motor Trend has compiled and released its annual Power List. This is the seventh year in which MT ranks the names of heaviest hitting personalities in the automotive industry. They're all ranked in order of just how much juice they hold, and sitting at the top of this year's list is Alan Mulally.

Ford's CEO was previously ranked No. 10 in 2009 and rose to No. 2 last year, but this year, MT has him sitting in the pole position. Their argument? Mulally has moved Ford into a place of profitability as well as quality in both design and engineering. In the magazine's words, "every Ford competitor needs a leader like Alan Mulally."

Ford didn't just see a win with Mulally earning the top honor. The automaker saw 10 of its employees in total make the 2011 Power List. General Motors is right behind them with nine folks earning recognition. After those two, the nearest competitor is Volkswagen with six people spread out across VW, Audi and Porsche.

The last few years have seen a flip-flopping trend between domestic and import bosses rising to the top spot on the power list. The 2010 edition saw VW's Ferdinand Pich as the numero uno automotive player and he's still strong for 2011 with a fall of just one spot to claim the number two position. In 2009, Rick Wagoner was number one before free-falling off the list, and in 2008, Takeo Fukui of Honda sat at the Power List peak.

It's not just team leaders like Mulally and Pich who make the annual Power List. Well-regarded Hyundai USA CEO John Krafcik checks in at No. 10, five spots down from his boss, Chung Mong Koo, Hyundai's global chairman. Peter Schreyer, head of design for Kia is ranked 13th overall and climbed way up from last year's rank of 44th. Doug Parks is GM's vehicle line executive for the Chevrolet Volt, and making sure that car arrived on time and in impressive fashion has landed him in the No. 20 spot.

You don't even need to work for an automaker to make the list because Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson is ranked the 49th most powerful automotive figure... in the world.

The top 10 are as follows:
1. Alan Mulally (CEO, Ford)
2. Ferdinand Pich (Chairman of Supervisory Board, Volkswagen AG)
3. Carlos Ghosn (President/CEO, Nissan/Renault)
4. Martin Winterkorn (Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen AG)
5. Chung Mong Koo (Chairman, Hyundai)
6. Mark Reuss (President, GM North America & Vice President, GM)
7. Lewis Booth (CFO, Ford)
8. Derrick Kuzak (Group VP Product Development, Ford)
9. Sergio Marchionne (CEO, Fiat/Chrysler)
10. John Krafcik (Hyundai USA, CEO)

Head on over to Motor Trend to read about all 50 players on their 2011 Power List, and then stop by the comments to leave your two-cents about what you think of the list.

[Source: Motor Trend]

18th February 2012, 10:22 PM
Engadget Interviews Ford's CEO Alan Mulally

It's not every day that you get the opportunity to pick the brain of one of the most powerful automotive executives in the world. Our chance came back in January when we interviewed Ford's CEO Alan Mulally at CES. More recently, our friends at Engadget got their shot at the blue oval's fearless leader. The resulting interview details Mulally's vision for the Ford brand and the future transportation in general.


19th February 2012, 09:44 AM
Thanks for the trouble.

galaxy xr8
19th February 2012, 11:42 AM
Alot of reading there , thank's for that mate.

19th February 2012, 12:24 PM
It's a pleasure.

They write textbooks about this bloke, so, cutting and pasting wasn't much trouble at all.

20th February 2012, 04:01 PM
They've archived the story, so I've added the new link :http://translogic.aolautos.com/2011/04/28/engadget-interviews-fords-ceo-alan-mulally/ (http://translogic.aolautos.com/2011/04/28/engadget-interviews-fords-ceo-alan-mulally/)

I put the whole file name in case anyone wants to store references and retrieve later..

20th February 2012, 04:07 PM
They've archived the story, so I've added the video link :http://translogic.aolautos.com/2011/04/28/engadget-interviews-fords-ceo-alan-mulally/ (http://translogic.aolautos.com/2011/04/28/engadget-interviews-fords-ceo-alan-mulally/)

I put the whole file name in case anyone wants to store references and retrieve later..

1st February 2013, 10:19 AM
How Boeing prepared Alan Mulally for Ford

How Boeing’s Dreamliner Was Grounded